Walmart makes a major change that will affect millions of customers

We may only be 11 days into 2024, but the most recent report on the cost of goods and services suggests we may off to an expensive start.

Consumer prices ticked up by 0.3% in December 2023, with the CPI wrapping up 2023 with a 3.4% overall increase for the 12 months.

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Buying new things certainly lands on the costlier side of life’s vital processes, which is why large retailers with a wide reach like Walmart  (WMT) – Get Free Report are in such a position of power. 

Walmart has been making its own effort to keep prices down for consumers. 

“Customers, generally speaking, are really price-sensitive right now,” CEO Doug McMillon told CNBC in December. 

But Walmart’s pricing power has continued to attract even the most price-sensitive customer to its doors, virtually or otherwise. 

“We’re continuing to see traffic growth in-store, plus even more transaction growth for pick-up, in-store, and delivery,” he added. “As a company our in-store business is continuing to grow, but we’d expect that this trend of faster growth for delivery will continue, and we’re happy to serve people however they want to be served.”

Walmart expands key service for millions of customers

With delivery emerging as one of Walmart’s most rapidly expanding revenue sources, it should come as no surprise that the mega retailer is working to grow its reach as quickly as possible. 

And that means getting creative, both on the road and in the sky. 

In August, Walmart added drone capabilities to 60,000 households in the Dallas area, where it focuses much of its current efforts on sky-delivery. 

Flight engineer Brian Scoles performs a pre-flight inspection of a delivery drone at the DroneUp hub in the parking lot at the Walmart Supercenter in Clermont, Fla. (Photo by Paul Hennesy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Anadolu/Getty Images

The sprawling but densely-populated city makes it a perfect lab for its ongoing drone delivery experimentation, though it already offers drone delivery via 36 stores across seven states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

And on Thursday, Walmart announced it’s further expanding its capabilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for another 1.8 million customers – one of its largest single expansion yet. This includes approximately 75% of the entire metropolitan population. 

Customers who live within 10 miles of a store in the service area should now have access to drone delivery, which can deliver a package to a doorstep within 10 minutes for select items. 

Walmart is working with drone operation companies Wing and Zipline to ramp up its efforts, whereas competitors like Amazon  (AMZN) – Get Free Report are building proprietary in-house services, albeit at a much slower rollout pace. 

“Our first few months delivering to Walmart customers have made it clear: Demand for drone delivery is real,” Wing CEO Adam Woodworth said. “The response has been incredible from customers ordering drone delivery from Walmart every day, and it’s a testament to our partnership that we’re now expanding our footprint to bring this innovative delivery option to millions of Texans. If this milestone is any indication, we believe 2024 is the year of drone delivery.”

Walmart’s drone partners claim the service is “whisper quiet,” creates zero emissions, and fulfills orders up to seven times faster than a standard delivery.

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